Sunday Nap Haiku

Never, ever on

Sunday afternoon should you

take a nap halfway.

Sleep deeply, fully

chasing rabbits in the woods

in a dreamland world….

….wake up not knowing

who you are or where you live,

looking for rabbits ….

Special thanks to Slice of Life

Visions of Cinnamon Sugarplum Donuts

Nothing excites me like a new writing tool. It doesn’t matter whether the tools are for 3 year olds or 103 year olds – – I feel a thrilling invitation to discover a new writing adventure whenever I uncover something new to inspire my mind and pen to dance a tango across the page. Normally, I would have sent this new discovery to my grandchildren, but I wanted to see this one first to check it out. To play. To write. To envision. I’m so inspired that I have decided to keep this set of story cards and order them a set of their own. They’re like Rory’s Story Cubes on steroids.

Create-a-Story Cards won the Oppenheim Best Toy Award gold seal. I bought the Animal Village set.

When a gold seal on a box says the thing inside won the Oppenheim Best Toy Award, I’m like that kid at Christmas who rips right in without pause. The instructions for Create-a-Story offer several options. I’m choosing to sort through the cards and choose 7 or 8 as “ingredient pictures” to create a story – to whip up an original recipe in the same way a pastry chef creams some butter and sugar and then beats an egg and folds in some flour. So here are my card ingredients……and here is my story:

From this hearty deck, I have chosen these 8 cards to tell my story.

Visions of Cinnamon Sugarplum Donuts

When Nana and Poppy visit their grandchildren whose names are Beckham, River, Saylor, and Sawyer for Christmas, they cross the state line from Georgia to South Carolina with mind-growing gifts for their little platypus, hedgehog, squirrel, and skunk. After a meal of Chick Fil-A chicken nuggets and lemonade tea, the gift-opening festivities begin.

In 2021, Saylor had a baking Christmas. She got a donut maker, an apron and chef’s hat, her own set of bowls and utensils (not the play kind, either, y’all – – hers are the real grownup kind), and a box of brown sugar cinnamon donut mix. Even though she had never made donuts before, she knew her mommy would help her gather all of the ingredients to make the world’s most perfect donuts – even better than ice cream with cherries and sprinkles on top, and that her daddy would be so proud! While her brothers River and Sawyer zipped around the living room on their new hover boards from Santa (occasionally coming to help stir and sample) and her daddy helped get her baby brother Beckham upstairs to take his nap, Saylor went straight to work making donuts with her mom.

Saylor also sensed that her Nana, the one with the sweet tooth who loves candy and sugary desserts, secretly hoped that her granddaughter would open her own bakery someday and invent a whole new line of her own magical desserts that would bring smiles and laughter to everyone who stepped through her bakery doors. And that she would also have free little doggie treats set out on the counter for all the customers to give to their dogs (and maybe even their cats, too, if their cats were as nice as her own cat, Titten, who as a young kitten had been flung from a car by a drunk man in a fit of rage in the rain while screaming at his crying wife right in the middle of the road and then rescued into the loving home of Saylor and her family, taking on the name Titten from her baby brother’s attempts to say “kitten”).

Her very first donuts amazed and dazzled the entire family tree, including those dearly departed who returned from Heaven in spirit at the mere smell of these donuts just to check things out and plant invisible kisses on the foreheads of their delightful little squirrel and hedgehog and skunk and platypus, and for the rest of the day they all sang and danced and celebrated the donut queen’s sweetly seasoned culinary skills at the tender age of four. Nana and Poppy wore themselves out with all the energy and excitement of the day, and they returned home to a night of deep sleep, visions of magical brown sugar cinnamon donuts dancing in their heads just like all those storied sugarplums they never understood….until now.

Special thanks to Slice of Life

The Power of a Teacher

Martha K. Schauer (1869-1985)

Thank you to Reverend Dr. Felix Haynes, Jr., for being today’s guest blogger. Today, he honors the power of a teacher to make a difference! Our family tree and wider kinship of friends has deep roots in teaching, preaching, and all things education. His writing today is inspired by his desire to learn more about the artist who painted a picture that hangs in his coastal Georgia home.

The Power of a Teacher

An original watercolor painting of a Lowcountry coastal scene, its quality evident, adorns the front wall of my St. Simons Island, Georgia home. As I often view it, I feel the inward pull of a kayak journey through some of the winding contours of marshes and creeks on the island. The area at the East Beach causeway winds through a marsh expanse all the way to Gould’s Inlet, and the dock scenes along the way suggest the aura of the painting.

I bought this piece at an auction in Blackshear, Georgia 18 years ago in a grouped lot of pictures. How such a gem made its way to South Georgia, I can only imagine -it was likely passed down to some family member who didn’t hold the same awareness and appreciation for the piece before it found a welcome home with me. I always love the research and exploration of any such collectible item. I learn a lot in these pursuits. This one led me on an inspiring culmination of memorable blessing. 

Painting from the auction in Blackshear, Ga.

My quest started with the signature of the artist—Martha K Schauer – and led me to encounters with the Dayton, Ohio Institute of Art, through some internet information, and to a prominent New York Times columnist. Martha K Schauer was born in Troy, Ohio and graduated from Steele High school in Dayton in 1908. Her college and graduate education occurred at Pratt Institute in New York, and at Wittenberg University in Ohio. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s Who in American Women. Her art collection appears in many prominent American museums, private collections, and art books. She was a high school teacher in Springfield, Illinois and at Stivers High School in Dayton, Ohio between 1910 and 1957. Additionally, she taught night classes at the Dayton Art Institute and was Director of the Saturday Institute of Art in Dayton from 1926 through 1956. The weekend art schools drew numerous aspiring artists through those years. (This and other information retrieved from

Her resume is impressive, as was the impact of her life on the world of art. Formidable is the word that comes into the heart of students and teachers alike when they consider Martha K Schauer. When I called the Dayton Art Institute and spoke with their historian, the conversation was lively and glowing with gratitude for her legacy. The Dayton Institute has a small collection of the works of Schauer. This historian informed me that her art is still popular and sought after when something comes available. A mosaic began to emerge as I continued reading and researching. 

Martha was tall, striking, and never wore make-up. She spoke with confident authority. One writer described her as having mesmerizing hazel eyes with arrow-like gaze as she spoke with a glistening sparkle behind the spectacles. Another said, “she had a marshmallow heart” – a balanced bit of steel and velvet. 

She was recognized widely as an artist with great talent and skill. Most of her work was done in watercolor, and she was regarded as a master in the field. The museum canvases which I viewed online depict watercolors of red geraniums, pink peonies, morning glories, and golden marigolds. Similar paintings surely brighten the walls of many homes.  One observer said, “she could paint water in a vase so wet and clear that it makes you thirsty to look at it.”

Many of her pupils entered the field of art as teachers, advertising artists, cartoonists, illustrators, decorators and fine artists. Among the many stories that could be told about Martha K Schauer, I want to share a slice of one of her most famous artists, Milton Caniff. Schauer taught art to hundreds of young people. The artist-teacher personality sometimes requires careful attention and management. Such was the case with Caniff. 

Martha recognized the unusual talent of Milton. She knew he had potential greatness and the prospect of becoming a top-flight artist.  However, he was a challenge – a gregarious kid who tried out for literally everything:  school plays, cheer-leading, and who joined all the clubs. 

In time, he fell in love with a girl who became a positive and persuasive influence. She badgered him into going to college to seek another direction than acting. Somehow, she was able to keep him focused, and he finished college in five bumpy years. 

Martha K. Schauer

In 1932, Milton Caniff moved to New York with an artist’s job with the Associated Press. He took over some of the tasks of the great artist Al Capp and developed many well-known comic strips which were nationally syndicated, such as TERRY AND THE PIRATESfeaturing the blonde bombshell Burma. Caniff spoke well through cartoons to many relevant issues. Finally, the cartoon STEVE CANYON was born and thrived throughout a captivating longevity. Caniff’s cartoon career continued, and he depicted countless American events in a gripping manner. The cartoons reflected the highest level of skill and content. 

As the years passed in his art career, Milton Caniff became the most honored man in his profession because of the formidable force of Martha K Schauer.  The lucrative career and the relationship behind it reveals the incredible power of a teacher. Milton never forgot her. 

Roz Young of the NEW YORK TIMES dug out a news article she had done (after an interview with Caniff) for the Chicago Tribune and sent it to me, an article which speaks not only of the power of a teacher but also of the love for one. Young shared, “Every time he came back to his hometown, he went to visit her.  They had a great time laughing about the old days and reminiscing.”

As the years passed, Schauer lost her hearing and sight and had to enter a nursing home. This passionate artist was cut off from the world of art, books and music – and perhaps, many relationships. But Milton never stopped coming to visit her.  Roz Young reports that Martha always knew the kiss and touch of Milton’s hands – and they always brought smiles to her aged face. 

In March 1985, Martha died at age 96. Caniff dropped his work and flew to New York and shared words at her memorial service. He spoke from his heart and said, “Most of us have a person outside our families who have a profound influence on our lives…mine was Martha K Schauer! This stately lady taught high school art to a knucklehead crowd! She graded us against ourselves. If she thought I was goofing off, she cut my grade from an A to a B minus. I got the message.”

Milton Caniff spoke of Schauer’s views of art to inspire others and make a difference. He also commented that “just before graduation, she called me into her office to tell me that I was not developing to my potential and that I should be punished.”

The following October, Caniff used the Steve Canyon comic strip to tell the world, who knew little of Schauer, how he felt about her.  He spoke of her caring influence. The tribute speaks of the debt we all owe at least one teacher – a teacher who sets our feet on the right path and pulls back the curtain of the future, showing us a glimpse of what we might become. 

Teachers! I am grateful for teachers who prompt, prod, and persuade us to more lofty horizons. Our teachers and mentors shape our lives and help us play a part in making a better world.  

Incidentally, I also learned through the Dayton Art Institute that the painting on my wall is not a Lowcountry scene, but a scene in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Wordle Haiku

What is this fresh fun?

Beating my head on the wall…..

using all letters

Mastermind with words

the game of letter logic

six tries, then you’re done!

I’m a Wordle fan –

a glutton for punishment

strategic guesses…..

If you haven’t played Wordle, take note: it’s like having one potato chip a day.

The Wish

Several Christmases ago, Dad gave me a box of books, inside of which was a copy of Leo Buscaglia’s book Loving Each Other, and in true Felix fashion, he put a note in the book for me to be sure to read the story at the end of the foreword. I read it that day, and I still read it often.

When I received an email from a friend this week giving me an update on her recent eye surgery and the way her year has begun, she told me that she knew she needed to shift her focus away from the things pulling her down. She decided to cook a meal for a friend who was sick with Covid. My mind went immediately to this fable, which tells the secret to happiness. I share this Pantoum today to thank my dad for the book with the story and to honor my friend Glenda, who gives selflessly and enjoys the “behind the scenes” random acts of kindness for others, even as she herself continues to heal. I also celebrate my one little word – listen – which also comes into focus, front and center, in this fable.

The Wish

she wished to be happy

so the little girl listened to the good fairy

the good fairy whispered the secret to happiness

for saving a butterfly impaled on a thorn

so the little girl listened to the good fairy

as she grew, no one was happier than she

for saving a butterfly impaled on a thorn

others asked how she was so happy

as she grew, no one was happier than she

she smiled and said, “I listened to a good fairy.”

others asked how she was so happy

“I’m happy because I’m needed,” she shared.

she smiled and said, “I listened to a good fairy.”

the good fairy whispered the secret to happiness

“I’m happy because I’m needed,” she shared.

she wished to be happy

Which Way to Heaven?

I wonder if

the trip up to Heaven

starts at the bottom

of a glass elevator

we ride

first passing all the

souls who didn’t go there

starting at the bottom-most floor

with the Devil and Hitler

or whether we never waste

a second on that kind of despair

and go straight

for the wings and the gown

and scooch into the choir and

start singing with the voice

we always wanted but never had

because there’s so much joy

it has to come out in song

like those morning birds that

sit on a branch and

sing solos, straining Heavenward

because they

just can’t contain themselves

for the shivers of praise

that overtake them

Prayer Bubbles

imagine the kind of world

this would be


just like those little hearts

that float up to the top of

our computer screens

like released balloons

whenever we like something

our prayers

did the same thing

and we could see

all of them across the world

through the skies

ascending to Heaven

like colorful soap bubbles

carrying thanks for all things

and love for others

can you imagine??

Black History Baseball Memories

To welcome Black History Month, Dad shares his memories of baseball – an encounter with his all-time favorite player – and the impact of these memories throughout his life. Thank you , Reverend Dr. Wilson Felix Haynes, Jr. for being today’s guest blogger and sharing your stories and your own father’s stories – and for instilling in your children a deep love of and respect for all people.

Memorabilia commemorating Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun, April 8, 1974

I have always loved baseball. As kids in the early 1950s, we played sandlot baseball behind the grammar school at Gilchrist Park in Waycross, Georgia, where Willie Clyde Oxford could hit the ball over the bamboo fence. We all collected Topps baseball cards from the iconic candy case in Haynes’ grocery store – the hub of that blue collar part of town. I still collect baseball cards. 

A 1974 Hank Aaron baseball card

My dad, Reverend W. F. Haynes, Sr.,  sold peanuts at Old Nine Baseball park as a boy. Old Nine was the number of the nearby railroad passenger stop in this railroad town. Mostly he sold them outside the ballpark, but peanut sellers could go inside and sell their peanuts if they got a foul ball and took it to the ticket booth (I would have kept the ball). He always arrived early and sold most of his peanuts outside the ballpark of the ACL Railroaders, a Minor League team in the Georgia-Florida league

Among those players who came early to the park was a player-coach on the oft- opponents Savannah team. This player drove a paneled woodie station wagon and sold all kinds of things out of the back of his car before the game. He had once played Major league baseball and “retired” early, but still loved the game. Dad enjoyed his encounters with this unique ball player and probably bought from him a popular toy of the day – a Duncan Yo-Yo! That player- coach just happened to be the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson!

I had a conversation with Kermit Carter of Jesup, Georgia, who attended First Baptist Church when I was pastor there. Journalists came from all over to talk baseball with Kermit, a historian of Southern Minor League baseball, who confirmed the stories that my dad told about Shoeless Joe. Kermit, an outfielder on the Waycross team, said, ”Oh yes, I remember Shoeless Joe well. In that park, I caught fly balls off his bat on occasion– when they didn’t go out of the ballpark! He was really something to see.”

Only later did Dad and Kermit learn the full story. 

Ty Cobb, the great Georgia Peach, said of Jackson, “He was the finest natural hitter in the history of the game. He was batting against spit balls, shine balls, emery balls and all kinds of trick pitch deliveries now outlawed.  He had no scientific knowledge about the game. He just swung. He could have been the most phenomenal player ever!”

Babe Ruth said, “I copied his swing, the greatest player I had ever seen.” These quotes could continue about Shoeless. I commend the script writer of the movie “Eight Men Out,” about the Black Sox team for whom Jackson played and was accused in the Black Sox scandal of accepting money and fixing the 1919 World Series. I do not think Jackson was guilty. The famous quote by a kid when Shoeless left the courtroom was, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”  History validates and vindicates Jackson. Even public opinion did not diminish the recognition of his superior baseball talent. 

My Dad interacted with one of baseball’s greatest players and the most compelling figures of the game and told hundreds of stories. If only he had gotten an autograph!  Shoeless Joe’s signature is one of the rarest of all the great players. I am both proud and envious that Dad had that experience and could share his memories about the memorable players he met at the Old- Nine Park.

My mother’s brother, my uncle A.G. Harris, was one of the nicest people you would ever meet. He owned a Piper-Cub airplane and would give us occasional rides. The Milwaukee Braves spring training camp was near the Ware County Airport, and he gave many of the ball players airplane rides for enjoyment and developed a good relationship with the team. One afternoon, he took me to the camp, where he had some clout and appreciation. I was 9 years old and met the Braves’ best player, Eddie Matthews, who gave me a colorful Indian Chief patch from an old jersey, a treasure I passed on to my son, Ken.  I became an avid life-long Braves fan because my uncle AG treated me to this thrilling boyhood adventure! 

Eddie Mathews baseball card

I listened to the Waycross Braves team almost every night on the radio and still remember most of the players’ names. One year, I had occasion to go to Memorial Stadium to watch the Waycross Braves play an exhibition game against the Jacksonville Braves minor league team. Those scenes stayed etched in my memory because the Jacksonville Braves had a young phenomenal player soon to play for the big Milwaukee Braves team.  On that day, Henry Aaron hit 3 massive homeruns over the left fence into the adjacent Newton field. In the coming years, I would run High school track on Newton field and think about that game. I savor that memory and all because of it, I became a lifelong Hank Aaron fan. I followed his career through 715 home runs and more. He became an idol to me in my feverish love of baseball. 

Imagine my excitement when the Braves came to Atlanta! It was truly an act of God just for me! I went to the very first major league game there in the first ballpark when I was a student at Mercer University in Macon (Pete Rose was playing for the Macon team at that time).

Beyond Mercer, I attended Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in 1966, moving there from Georgia with my wife, Miriam, and our young daughter, Kim. In the summer of my first year, I became the Pastor of the Port Royal Baptist Church just 35 miles from the Seminary. This picturesque village town was situated on the Kentucky River. The sanctuary had beautiful stained-glass and was an ornately captivating place of worship. Attendance ran around 100, and it was a sound economic area owing to cattle and burley tobacco. 

I was “different” and well received. Pastoring there was a fun experience and a tremendously profitable learning time. Lillian Pollard was a great mentor to whom I will always be indebted. One of the best historical novels which receives rave reviews is entitled Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, poet Laureate of Kentucky and member of Port Royal Baptist Church. The book is the enthralling story of Port Royal, Kentucky.

In September of 1967, our Brotherhood planned a trip to Cincinnati to see the Reds play the Atlanta Braves in the days of the Big Red machine. These men took me to dinner in Cincy and to the ball game, feeling highly optimistic about the Reds’ chances. This was a memorable time shared by preacher and parishioners – a dozen of us on a Friday night at the old ball-park. This would become for me a never- to- be forgotten experience in more ways than one. 

The seats were spectacularly situated seven rows behind the Braves dugout. What a view! I heard the words, “Play Ball!” Time for excitement. 

The Reds’ pitcher, Milt Pappas, hit a two- run homer in the third inning – right over the centerfield scoreboard! Pitchers do not hit like that. But then again, Tony Cloninger was in the Braves dugout. Tony , a pitcher for the Braves,  in an earlier season had  hit two grand-slam homeruns and a bases-loaded double in the same game for the record number of 10 RBIs. My friends were ecstatic and having fun with the Johnny Bench-Pete Rose Reds whipping the preacher’s Braves. But I know how to be a good sport.  The game was thereafter a great pitcher’s duel between the Braves’ Ron Reed and Reds’ Milt Pappas. 

The sixth inning score was 2-1 Reds. Felix Millan (no kin) singled for the Braves. Two outs. Hank Aaron came to the plate. I cheated and whispered, “Lord please.”  There’s no praying in Baseball. Is there? I just had a feeling something good was about to happen. So, I boldly held up two fingers and shouted, “TWO!” indicating the Hammer was about to drop.  They understood that I was arrogantly calling the shot – predicting a 2-run homer.

And it happened! I hollered with excitement, “TWO! TWO!” I was thinking maybe this bolstered a prophetic status as their preacher. 

I hadn’t seen the beer vendor in the aisle. Honestly.  Suddenly, two beers were coming my way. A Baptist preacher with the Baptist brotherhood ordering 2 beers. That ain’t kosher! My brothers knew I had been calling for a two- run homer and not 2 beers. However, they did not make any attempt to halt the transaction. So much for the prophet status.  I think John the Baptist may have consumed some wine to neutralize the alkaline in the water. Fortunately, two fellows seated behind me said, “If he doesn’t want’em, we’ll take em.” God delivered Daniel from a Lion’s den and me from a testy- moment. My friends saw how God intervenes! 

How can a trip to a ballgame get any better?  But it did!

After the Braves hit in the seventh inning, during the stretch time, Morgan Perry, a well-to-do cattleman and person with some Kentucky clout said, “Preacher, come with me.” There was an usher standing near the Braves dug-out gate. He opened it for me to enter and there stood Hank Aaron! Morgan Perry had prearranged this opportunity. He told the Cincinnati- brass about their preacher and his love for the Braves. I had a 10-minute memorable conversation with the Hammer, who had hit a home run in that game! I told Aaron about seeing his 3- homerun game in Waycross at age 10. His eyes sparkled with excitement in that memory, and the bond was immediate. I added that I was pulling for him to win the homerun crown that year. (He did). I had a new friend in that packed moment with the all- time great Hank Aaron, at least for one shining moment. I knew then he was a gentleman and a person of unusual character. As the world knows, Hank Aaron was a vital person in positive breakthroughs in the world of racial relations – always a class act.  The Braves won the game. I had a great time, unintentional Beer-ordering and all – and I got Hank Aaron’s autograph!

Baseball Game memorabilia, 1967, with Hank Aaron’s autograph

You cannot imagine the atmosphere at church on the following Sunday. One person said, “I heard you had a great time at the Ballpark. Did you order peanuts to go with the beverages?”- and lot of other fun comments in a friendly teasing manner. That “awkward” occasion became a time of deepening the human bond with that Church family.  

I returned to Kentucky recently, along with Dink Nesmith, a Georgia newspaperman who wanted to interview Wendell Berry regarding his views on environmental protection. The Sunday afternoon meeting had been prearranged with Wendell. The Church, aware of our coming, arranged for an after- worship dinner for the return of a former Pastor. The dinner was classic and delicious with the choice Kentucky dishes. Dink was impressed. I was reminded 45 years later of the beer- event at the ballgame, all in fun. I find it rather amazing that such simple moments in life, like that ball game, hold the value of a sermon, and sometimes more because it opens the door to be heard in a unique way.  I learned again the need that people have for their pastors to be real and non- pious. 

Back to Aaron.  I have read all the books by and about Hank Aaron. The story of his impact is well-chronicled. Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson were history-altering people. Aaron’s autobiography, If I Had a Hammer, records the story of his remarkable journey. The Atlanta Braves won the World Series the very year after the deaths of Phil Niekro and Hank Aaron! Coincidental? 

From my own dad’s encounters with Shoeless Joe to my life-long love of baseball, I hallow the memories!

– W. Felix Haynes, Jr.

With gratitude to Two Writing Teachers for giving writers space, voice, and audience!